Vaccination remains key defence against COVID variants

Azlan Othman

Vaccination will prevent serious symptoms from the Omicron variant of COVID-19, said the Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham Haji Jaafar during the daily press conference yesterday.

“Vaccination would still provide strong protection against the new variant Omicron or any other new variants in the future,” said the minister, adding that it remains a key part in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

The minister said there was still much that needs to be understood about Omicron, including its detection, transmissibility and effects as well as the effectiveness of existing vaccines against it.

“Omicron is a new variant and will need weeks to analyse,” he said, adding that the variant has been detected in numerous countries and initial findings of cases in a European country found the efficacy of vaccines had been estimated to drop from 95 per cent to 90 per cent.
“However, vaccines still prevent serious symptoms,” said the minister.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said some reports from South Africa indicated those infected with Omicron appeared to have mild symptoms.

Nonetheless, the minister said the public should maintain social distancing, wear face masks, avoid mass gatherings and adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“These practices are still paramount to stopping the spread of the virus,” he said.